When your partner breaks your trust, but you want to try and stay together, there are a few simple things you can both do to dramatically increase the chances that you and your partner will succeed. (And remember that simple doesn’t always mean easy.)
If the breaker of trust is humble, and I mean really humble, then they will admit they were wrong, and show a complete willingness to do whatever is necessary to keep the relationship and rebuild trust. When this happens, the relationship has an incredibly strong chance of trust building back as quickly as possible.
- Complete Transparency
Often, at least for a while, the partner who is trying to trust again needs their partner to be temporarily 100% transparent about their life for a while. This can mean offering their phone for inspection, giving passwords to social media, allowing their partner to track them using an app, etc.. But the level and duration of this sort of transparency depends on the couple and what they agree will be most helpful. Usually this helps the trust to grow, and that humility mentioned above helps here in spades.
If the partner who is trying to trust again can remember why they chose to stay in the relationship, and really work on forgiveness, they will be much less likely to lash out. This process is incredibly hard, and because it’s so hard you are bound to lash out from time to time, (another reason for the need for humility on your partner’s part), but if you can do your absolute best, and offer a little transparency about your efforts along the way, you’ll notice things getting better faster than you thought they could.
One of the hardest things to do for both partners when trust has been broken, is to be willing to be open and vulnerable about how you’re feeling, and, as the process continues, keeping that level of communication and vulnerability up. But healing only happens in vulnerable moments, and typically, at this point in a relationship a ton of healing is on the horizon as things move forward.
- Communicate about what’s working
As things move forward, you will start to trust more, and your partner will do and say things that really help that along. When they do, tell them. When you have a good day and you feel hopeful about things, talk about it and tell each other what you did to help that day to happen. When you have a weak moment and your partner helps pull you through, tell them. So they can do more of the same in future. Figure out what your specific formula is by telling each other what works.
That’s it. 5 pieces of a formula that is simple, but of course, not easy. Good luck, and if you want more help on this type of thing, counseling is always a good choice. Call me or another therapist and we’ll help you on your journey to rebuilding trust.
Rebekka Ouer, LCSW